Skip to main content

Full text of "The mad pranks and merry jests of Robin Goodfellow: reprinted from the edition of 1628"

See other formats




from  tije  Litton  o!  1628. 







J.  A.  CAHUSAC,  ESQ.  F.S.A. 










E.  F.  RIMBAULT,  ESQ  Secretary 



THE  following  republication  is  made  from  the 
oldest  known  edition  of  the  tract :  the  original  is 
in  the  library  of  Lord  Francis  Egerton,  M.P., 
who,  with  the  liberality  which  ought  to  belong  to 
every  possessor  of  such  productions,  has  permitted 
it  to  be  reprinted  for  the  use  of  the  members  of 
the  Percy  Society.  No  other  copy  of  the  im- 
pression of  1628  is  known,  but  one  of  a  consi- 
derably later  date,  1639,  is  in  the  hands  of  a 
collector :  he  purchased  it  at  Mr.  Heber's  sale  for 
a  sum  very  little  short  of  <^?40 ;  and  hence  the 
uninitiated  in  book-rarities  may  be  able  to  form 
some  opinion,  as  to  the  scarcity  and  pecuniary 
value  of  the  earlier  edition. 

It  is  one  of  those  extremely  popular  produc- 
tions, of  which  many  editions  must  have  appeared 
at  the  end  of  the  sixteenth  and  beginning  of  the 
seventeenth  centuries  ;  but  the  very  circumstance 
of  their  popularity,  and  the  numerous  hands 
through  which  they  passed,  necessarily  led  to  the 
destruction  of  them.  The  consequence  is,  that 
books  of  no  class  are  of  such  uncommon  occur- 
rence as  those  which  were  addressed  to  a  multi- 



plicity  of  readers.  The  more  frequent  the  copies 
originally  in  circulation,  the  fewer  generally  are 
those  which  have  come  down  to  us. 

There  is  little  or  no  doubt  that  "  Eobin  Good- 
fellow,  his  mad  Prankes  and  merry  Jests,"  was 
first  printed  before  1588.  Tarlton,  the  celebrated 
comic  actor,  died  late  in  that  year,  and  just  after 
his  decease  (as  is  abundantly  established  by  in- 
ternal evidence,  though  the  work  has  no  date) 
came  out  in  a  tract  called  "  Tarlton's  Newes 
out  of  Purgatorie,  &c.  Published  by  an  old 
Companion  of  his,  Robin  Goodfellow ;"  and  on 
sign.  A  3  we  find  it  asserted  that  Eobin  Good- 
fellow  was  "  famozed  in  every  old  wives  chronicle 
for  his  mad  merrye  prankes,"  as  if  at  that  time 
the  incidents  detailed  in  the  succeeding  pages 
were  well  known,  and  had  been  frequently  related. 
Four  years  earlier  Robin  Goodfellow  had  been 
mentioned  by  Anthony  Munday  in  his  comedy  of 
"The  Two  Italian  Gentlemen,"  printed  in  1584, 
and  there  his  other  familiar  name  of  Hob-goblin 
is  also  assigned  to  him.  (Vide  Hist,  of  Engl. 
Dram.  Poetry  and  the  Stage,  iii.  241.)  Again, 
we  find  him  introduced  into  a  very  rare  anonymous 
collection  of  epigrams  and  satires,  published  in 
1598,  under  the  title  of  "  Skialtheia,  or  a  Sha- 
dowe  of  Truth,"  where  the  property  of  intermi- 
nable change,  bestowed  upon  him  by  his  fairy- 


father,  Oberon,  or  Obreon,  (as  related  on  p.  9  and 
10  of  our  reprint)  is  attributed  to  him : 

"  No ;  let's  esteeme  Opinion  as  she  is, 
Foole's  bawble,  innovation's  raistris, 
The  Proteus,  Robin  good-fellow  of  change"  $-c. 
Sat.  VI.  sign.  D,  86. 

In  the  Foreign  Quarterly  Review,  No.  35,  Mr. 
Wright  published  a  very  amusing  essay  on  fairy 
mythology,  in  which  he  traced  Robin  Good-feUow 
from  the  thirteenth  century,  if  not  earlier ;  but 
our  object  has  been  merely  to  establish  the  anti- 
quity of  the  production,  consisting  of  two  parts, 
which  we  here  present  to  the  members  of  the  Percy 

Shakespeare's  "Midsummer  Night's  Dream,"  in 
which  Robin  Good-fellow  figures  under  the  name 
of  Puck  (although  his  other  designations  are  all 
given)  was  first  printed  in  1600,  and  probably 
it  was  not  acted  much  before  that  year :  at  what- 
ever date  it  was  brought  out,  it  is  evident  that 
Shakespeare  was  acquainted  with  the  tract  en- 
titled "  Robin  Good-fellow  his  mad  Prankes  and 
merry  Jests."  As  might  be  supposed,  it  will  be 
found  to  contain  some  amusing  and  interesting 
illustrations  of  Shakespeare's  drama. 

There  are  two  entries  in  Henslowe's  Diary,  not 
noticed  by  Malone,  which  are  curious  in  relation 
to  this  subject.  They  establish  that  Henry 

b  2 


Chettle  was  writing,  and  perhaps  wrote,  a  play 
upon  the  story  of  Robin  Goodfellow,  in  Septem- 
ber 1602,  two  years  after  "  Midsummer  Night's 
Dream"  had  been  published.  They  run  thus  : 

"Lent  unto  harey  Chettell  the  7  of  Septmbr  1602,\ 
at  the  apoyntment,  to  lend  in  earenest  of  a  tragedie  L 
called  Robin  hoodfellowe,  some  of  J 

"Lent  unto  harey  chettell  the  9  of  Septembr  1602 \ 
in  pt  of  payment  of  a  playe  called  Robingoodfellowe,  [•     s 
some  of  j 

In  the  first  entry,  which  is  confusedly  worded, 
"tragedie"  has  been  struck  out,  and  no  other 
word  substituted  for  it ;  but  in  the  second  entry 
"  playe"  was  interlined,  "  tragedie"  having  been 
erased.  It  seems  pretty  evident  that  Henslowe 
had  in  his  mind  some  confused  notion  of  a  con- 
nexion between  Robin  Hood  and  Robin  Good- 
fellow,  but  it  must  have  been  purely  accidental  on 
his  part :  whether  there  were  really  any  such 
connexion  may  form  a  curious  point  for  speculation. 

An  account  of  "  Robin  Good-fellow,  his  mad 
Prankes  and  merry  Jests"  is  inserted  in  the 
Catalogue  of  some  of  the  rare  English  works 
preserved  at  Bridgewater  House,  which  was 
prepared,  and  privately  printed,  by  direction  of 
Lord  Francis  Egerton,  in  1837. 

With  the  ballad  in  Percy's  "  Reliques"  (iii. 
254,  Edit.  1812)  entitled  "  The  merry  Prankes 
of  Robin  Goodfellow,"  no  doubt  most  of  our 


readers  are  well  acquainted ;  but  another  pro- 
duction of  a  similar  description  will,  we  appre- 
hend, be  new  to  them.  It  is  a  unique  black-letter 
history  in  verse,  printed  early  in  the  seventeenth 
century  as  a  chap-book.  It  was  originally  illus- 
trated by  a  wood-cut  upon  the  title-page,  (repeated 
in  the  body  of  the  ballad)  not  of  the  most  decent 
description,  and  this  circumstance  led  to  the  tear- 
ing away  of  nearly  the  whole  of  it :  with  the 
wood-cut,  part  of  the  letter-press  has  unfortunately 
disappeared.  The  vacancies  thus  occasioned  were 
supplied  by  conjecture,  and  twenty-five  copies  of 
it  were  struck  off  by  the  Editor,  some  years  ago, 
merely  for  distribution  among  his  friends.  As  it 
is  not  only  connected  in  subject,  but  evidently 
founded  upon  "  Robin  Good-fellow,  his  mad 
Prankes  and  merry  Jests,"  we  do  not  hesitate  to 
subjoin  it  at  length.  The  small  portions  added, 
for  the  purpose  of  completing  the  deficient  text, 
are  inserted  between  brackets. 



Shewing  his  birth,  and  whose  soune  he  was. 

HERE  doe  begin  the  merry  iests 
of  Robin  Good-fellow; 

I'de  wish  you  for  to  reade  this  booke, 
if  you  his  Pranks  would  know. 

But  first  I  will  declare  his  birth, 
and  what  his  Mother  was, 

And  then  how  Robin  merrily 
did  bring  his  knacks  to  passe. 

In  time  of  old,  when  Fayries  us'd 

to  wander  in  the  night, 
And  through  key-holes  swiftly  glide, 

Now  marke  my  story  right, 
Among  these  pretty  fairy  Elves 

Was  Oberon,  their  King, 
Who  us'd  to  keepe  them  company 

still  at  their  revelling. 

And  sundiy  houses  they  did  use, 

but  one,  above  the  rest, 
Wherein  a  comely  Lasse  did  dwell 

that  pleas'd  King  Oberon  best. 
This  lovely  Damsell,  neat  and  faire, 

so  courteous,  meek,  and  mild, 
As  sayes  my  booke,  by  Oberon 

she  was  begot  with  child. 

She  knew  not  who  the  Father  was  ; 

but  thus  to  all  would  say — 
In  night  time  he  to  her  still  came, 

and  went  away  ere  day. 
The  midwife  having  better  skill 

than  had  this  new  made  mother, 
Quoth  she,  surely  some  Fairy  'twas, 

for  it  can  be  no  other. 

And  so  the  old  wife  rightly  judg'd, 

For  it  was  so  indeed. 
This  Fairy  shew'd  himself  most  kind, 

and  helpt  his  love  at  need  ; 


For  store  of  linnen  he  provides, 

and  brings  her  for  her  baby, 
With  dainty  cates  and  choised  fare, 

he  serv'd  her  like  a  Lady. 

The  Christening  time  then  being  [come, 

most  merry  they  [did  pass ; 
The  Gossips  dra[ined  a  cheerful  cup 

as  then  provided  was. 
And  Robin  was  [the  infant  call'd, 

so  named  the  [Gossips  by : 
What  pranks  [he  played  both  day  and  night 

lie  tell  you  cer[tainly. 


Shewing  how  Robin  Good-fellow  carried  himselfe,  and  how  he  run 
away  from  his  Mother. 

[WHILE  yet  he  was  a  little  la]d 

[and  of  a  tender  age,] 
He  us'd  much  waggish  tricks  to  men, 

as  they  at  him  would  rage. 
Unto  his  Mother  they  complain'd, 

which  grieved  her  to  heare, 
And  for  these  Pranks  she  threatned  him 

he  should  have  whipping  cheare, 

If  that  he  did  not  leave  his  tricks, 

his  jeering  mocks  and  mowes  : 
Quoth  she,  thou  vile  untutor'd  youth, 

these  Prankes  no  breeding  shewes  : 
I  cannot  to  the  market  goe, 

but  ere  I  backe  returne, 
Thou  scof  st  my  neighbours  in  such  sort, 

which  makes  my  heart  to  mourne. 


But  I  will  make  you  to  repent 

these  things  ere  I  have  done  : 
I  will  no  favour  have  on  thee, 

although  thou  beest  my  sonne. 
Robin  was  griev'd  to  heare  these  words, 

which  she  to  him  did  say, 
But  to  prevent  his  punishment, 

from  her  he  run  away. 

And  travelling  long  upon  the  way, 

his  hunger  being  great, 
Unto  a  Taylor's  house  he  came, 

and  did  entreat  some  meat : 
The  Taylor  tooke  compassion  then 

upon  this  pretty  youth, 
And  tooke  him  for  his  Prentice  straight, 

as  I  have  heard  in  truth. 


How  Robin  Good-fellow  left  his  Master,  and  also  how  Oberon  told  him 
he  should  be  turned  into  what  shape  he  could  wish  or  desire. 

Now  Robin  Good-fellow,  being  plac't 

with  a  Taylor,  as  you  heare, 
He  grew  a  workman  in  short  space, 

so  well  he  ply'd  his  geare. 
He  had  a  gowne  which  must  be  made, 

even  with  all  haste  and  speed  ; 
The  Maid  must  have  't  against  next  day 

to  be  her  wedding  weed. 

The  Taylor  he  did  labour  hard 

till  twelve  a  clock  at  night ; 
Betweene  him  and  his  servant  then 

they  finished  aright 


The  gowne,  but  putting  on  the  sleeves  : 

quoth  he  unto  his  man, 
lie  goe  to  bed  :  whip  on  the  sleeves 

as  fast  as  ere  you  can. 

So  Robin  straightway  takes  the  gowne 

and  hangs  it  on  a  pin, 
Then  takes  the  sleeves  and  whips  the  gowne  ; 

till  day  he  nere  did  lin. 
His  Master  rising  in  the  morne, 

and  seeing  what  he  did, 
Begun  to  chide  ;  quoth  Robin  then, 

I  doe  as  I  was  bid. 

His  Master  then  the  gowne  did  take 

and  to  his  worke  did  fall : 
By  that  time  he  had  done  the  same 

the  Maid  for  it  did  call. 
Quoth  he  to  Robin,  goe  thy  wayes 

and  fetch  the  remnants  hither, 
That  yesterday  we  left,  said  he, 

weel  breake  our  fasts  together. 

Then  Robin  hies  him  up  the  staires 

and  brings  the  remnants  downe, 
Which  he  did  know  his  Master  sav'd 

out  of  the  woman's  gowne. 
The  Taylor  he  was  vext  at  this ; 

he  meant  remnants  of  meat, 
That  this  good  woman,  ere  she  went, 

might  there  her  breakfast  eate. 

Quoth  she,  this  is  a  breakfast  good 

I  tell  you,  friend,  indeed ; 
And  to  requite  your  love  I  will 

send  for  some  drinke  with  speed  : 


And  Kobin  he  must  goe  for  it 

with  all  the  speed  he  may  : 
He  takes  the  pot  and  money  too, 

and  runnes  from  thence  away. 

When  he  had  wandred  all  the  day, 

a  good  way  from  the  Towne, 
Unto  a  forest  then  he  came  : 

to  sleepe  he  laid  him  downe. 
Then  Oberon  came,  with  all  his  Elves, 

and  danc'd  about  hi   sonne, 
With  musick  pleasing  to  the  eare  ; 

and,  when  that  it  was  done, 

King  Oberon  layes  a  scroule  by  him, 

that  he  might  understand 
Whose  sonne  he  was,  and  how  hee'd  grant 

whate'er  he  did  demand : 
To  any  forme  that  he  did  please 

himselfe  he  would  translate  ; 
And  how  one  day  hee'd  send  for  him 

to  see  his  fairy  State. 

Then  Eobin  longs  to  know  the  truth 

of  this  mysterious  skill, 
And  tumes  himselfe  into  what  shape 

he  thinks  upon  or  will. 
Sometimes  a  neighing  horse  was  he, 

sometimes  a  gmntling  hog, 
Sometimes  a  bird,  sometimes  a  crow, 

sometimes  a  snarling  dog. 



How  Robin  Good-fellow  was  merry  at  the  Bridehouse. 

Now  Robin  having  got  this  art, 

he  oft  would  make  good  sport, 
And  hearing  of  a  wedding  day, 

he  makes  him  ready  for't. 
Most  like  a  joviall  Fidler  then 

he  drest  himselfe  most  gay, 
And  goes  unto  the  wedding  house, 

there  on  his  crowd  to  play. 

He  welcome  was  unto  this  feast, 

and  merry  they  were  all ; 
He  play'd  and  sung  sweet  songs  all  day, 

at  night  to  sports  did  fall. 
He  first  did  put  the  candles  out, 

and  being  in  the  dark, 
Some  would  he  strike  and  some  would  pinch, 

and  then  sing  like  a  lark. 

The  candles  being  light  againe, 

and  things  well  and  quiet, 
A  goodly  posset  was  brought  in 

to  mend  their  former  diet. 
Then  Robin  for  to  have  the  same 

did  turne  him  to  a  Beare  : 
Straight  at  that  sight  the  people  all 

did  run  away  for  feare. 

Then  Robin  did  the  posset  eate, 

and  having  serv'd  them  so, 
Away  goes  Robin  with  all  haste, 

then  laughing  hoe,  hoe,  hoe  ! 


Declaring  how  Robin  Good-fellow  serv'd  an  old  lecherous  man. 

THERE  was  an  old  man  had  a  Neece, 

a  very  beauteous  maid  ; 
To  wicked  lust  her  Unkle  sought 

This  faire  one  to  perswade. 

But  she  a  young  man  lov'd  too  deare 

to  give  consent  thereto ; 
'Twas  Eobin's  chance  upon  a  time 

to  heare  their  grievous  woe  ; 
Content  your  selfe,  then  Kobin  saies, 

and  I  will  ease  your  griefe, 
I  have  found  out  an  excellent  way 

that  will  yeeld  you  reliefe. 

He  sends  them  to  be  married  straight, 

and  he,  in  her  disguise, 
Hies  home  with  all  the  speed  he  may 

to  blind  her  Uncle's  eyes  : 
And  there  he  plyes  his  work  amaine, 

doing  more  in  one  houre, 
Such  was  his  skill  and  workmanship, 

than  she  could  doe  in  foure. 

The  old  man  wondred  for  to  see 

the  worke  goe  on  so  fast, 
And  there  withall  more  worke  doth  he 

unto  good  Robin  cast. 
Then  Kobin  said  to  his  old  man, 

good  Uncle,  if  you  please 
To  grant  me  but  one  ten  pound 

lie  yeeld  your  love-suit  ease. 

Ten  pounds,  quoth  he,  I  will  give  thee, 
sweet  Neece,  with  all  my  heart, 


So  thou  wilt  grant  to  me  thy  love, 

to  ease  my  troubled  heart. 
Then  let  me  a  writing  have,  quoth  he, 

from  your  owne  hand  with  speed, 
That  I  may  marry  my  sweet-heart 

when  I  have  done  this  deed. 

The  old  man  he  did  give  consent 

that  he  these  things  should  have, 
Thinking  that  it  had  bin  his  Neece 

that  did  this  bargain  crave  ; 
And  unto  Robin  then  quoth  he, 

my  gentle  N[eece,  behold, 
Goe  thou  into  [thy  chamber  soone, 

and  He  goe  [bring  the  gold. 

When  he  into  [the  chamber  came, 

thinking  in[deed  to  play, 
Straight  Robin  [upon  him  doth  fall, 

and  carries  h[im  away 
Into  the  chamb[er  where  the  two 

faire  Lovers  [did  abide, 
And  gives  to  th[em  their  Unkle  old, 

I,  and  the  g[old  beside. 

The  old  man  [vainly  Robin  sought, 

so  man[y  shapes  he  tries  ; 
Someti[mes  he  was  a  hare  or  hound, 

som[etimes  like  bird  he  flies. 
The  [more  he  strove  the  less  he  sped, 

th[e  Lovers  all  did  see  ; 
And  [thus  did  Robin  favour  them 

full  [kind  and  merrilie. 

[Thus  Robin  lived  a  merry  life 

as  any  could  enjoy, 
'Mongst  country  farms  he  did  resort 

and  oft  would  folks  annoy  :] 


But  if  the  maids  doe  call  to  him, 

he  still  away  will  goe 
In  knavish  sort,  and  to  himselfe 

he'd  laugh  out  hoe,  hoe,  hoe  ! 

He  oft  would  beg  and  crave  an  almes, 

but  take  nought  that  they'd  give : 
In  severall  shapes  he'd  gull  the  world, 

thus  madly  did  he  live. 
Sometimes  a  cripple  he  would  seeme, 

sometimes  a  souldier  brave  : 
Sometimes  a  fox,  sometimes  a  hare  ; 

brave  pastimes  would  he  have. 

Sometimes  an  owle  he'd  seeme  to  be, 

sometimes  a  skipping  frog ; 
Sometimes  a  kirne,  in  Irish  shape, 

to  leape  ore  mire  or  bog : 
Sometime  he'd  counterfeit  a  voyce, 

and  travellers  call  astray, 
Sometimes  a  walking  fire  he'd  be, 

and  lead  them  from  their  way. 

Some  call  him  Robin  Good-fellow, 

Hob  goblin,  or  mad  Crisp, 
And  some  againe  doe  tearme  him  oft 

by  name  of  Will  the  Wispe  ; 
But  call  him  by  what  name  you  list, 

I  have  studied  on  my  pillow, 
I  think  the  best  name  he  deserves 

is  Robin  the  Good  Fellow. 

At  last  upon  a  summer's  night 
King  Oberon  found  him  out, 

And  with  his  Elves  in  dancing  wise 
straight  circled  him  about. 


The  Fairies  danc't,  and  little  Tom  Thumb 

on  his  bag-pipe  did  play, 
And  thus  they  danc't  their  fairy  round 

till  almost  break  of  day. 

Then  Phebus  he  most  gloriously 

begins  to  grace  the  aire, 
When  Oberon  with  his  fairy  traine 

begins  to  make  repaire, 
With  speed  unto  the  Fairy  land, 

they  swiftly  tooke  their  way, 
And  I  out  of  my  dreame  awak't, 

and  so  'twas  perfect  day. 

Thus  having  told  my  dreame  at  full 

lie  bid  you  all  farewell. 
If  you  applaud  mad  Robin's  prankes, 

may  be  ere  long  lie  tell 
Some  other  stories  to  your  eares, 

which  shall  contentment  give  : 
To  gaine  your  favours  I  will  seeke 

The  longest  day  I  live. 

It  will  be  seen  that  the  father  of  Robin  Good- 
fellow  in  the  foregoing  history  is  called  Oberon, 
whereas  in  the  succeeding  tract  he  is  named  Obreon. 
R.Greene,  in  his  "James  the  Fourth,11  1598, 
gives  the  "  King  of  Fayeries"  the  appellation  of 
Oboram  ;  but  he  had  been  Auberon  in  an  Enter- 
tainment before  Elizabeth  in  1591,  which  comes 


very  near  to  Shakespeare's  Oberon,  the  name 
which  the  ballad-writer,  not  long  after  him, 

It  is  only  necessary  to  subjoin,  that  the  tract 
belonging  to  Lord  Francis  Egerton  has  two  coarse 
(in  every  sense  of  the  word)  wood-cuts,  one  upon  the 
title-page  of  "  the  first  part,"1  and  the  other  upon 
the  title-page  of  "the  second  part."  The  first 
represents  Robin  Good-fellow  like  a  satyr,  with 
horns  on  his  head,  a  broom  on  his  shoulder,  and 
a  torch  in  his  hand,  dancing  in  a  ring  of  pigmies, 
while  Tom  Thumb  performs  on  his  pipe  in  the 
right-hand  corner,  and  a  black  cat  sits  on  its 
haunches  in  the  left-hand  corner.  The  second 
wood-cut  was  merely  inserted  to  fill  up  the  title- 
page  :  it  represents  a  wild  huntsman,  with  his 
horn  and  spear,  and  is  to  be  found  at  the  top  of 
several  ballads  printed  early  and  late  in  the 
seventeenth  century. 










NOT  omitting  that  antient  forme  of  beginning  tales, 
Once  upon  a  time  it  was  my  chance  to  travaile  into 
that  noble  county  of  Kent.  The  weather  beeing  wet,  and 
my  two-leg'd  horse  being  almost  tyred  (for  indeede  my 
owne  leggs  were  all  the  supporters  that  my  body  had) 
I  went  dropping  into  an  alehouse:  there  found  I,  first 
a  kinde  wellcome,  next  good  lyquor,  then  kinde  stran- 
gers (which  made  good  company),  then  an  honest 
hoast,  whose  love  to  good  liquor  was  written  in  red 
characters  both  in  his  nose,  cheekes  and  forehead:  an 
hoastesse  I  found  there  too,  a  woman  of  very  good 
carriage;  and  though  she  had  not  so  much  colour  (for 
what  she  had  done)  as  her  rich  husband  had,  yet  all 
beholders  might  perceive  by  the  roundness  of  her  belly, 
that  she  was  able  to  draw  a  pot  dry  at  a  draught,  and 
ne're  unlace  for  the  matter. 

Well,  to  the  fire  I  went,  where  I  dryed  m^  outside 
and  wet  my  inside.  The  ale  being  good,  and  I  in  good 
company,  I  lapt  in-^j^nuch  of  this  nappy  liquor,  that 
it  begot  in  mee  a  boldnesse  to  talke,  and  desire  of  them  to 
know  what  was  the  reason  that  the  people  of  that  country 
were  called  Long-tayles.  The  hoast  sayd,  all  the  reason 



that  ever  he  could  heare  was,  because  the  people  of  that 
country  formerly  did  use  to  goe  in  side  skirted  coates. 
There  is(sayd  an  old  man  that  sat  by)  another  reason  that 
I  have  heard:  that  is  this.  In  the  time  of  the  Saxons 
conquest  of  England  there  were  divers  of  our  country- 
men slaine  by  treachery,  which  made  those  that  sur- 
vived more  carefull  in  dealing  with  their  enemies,  as 
you  shall  heare. 

After  many  overthrowes  that  our  countrymen  had 
received  by  the  Saxons,  they  dispersed  themselves  into 
divers  companies  into  the  woods,  and  so  did  much 
damage  by  their  suddaine  assaults  to  the  Saxons,  that 
Hengist,  their  king,  hearing  the  damage  that  they 
did  (and  not  knowing  how  to  subdue  them  by  force), 
used  this  policy.  Hee  sent  to  a  company  of  them, 
and  gave  them  his  word  for  their  liberty  and  safe  re- 
turne,  if  they  would  come  unarmed  and  speake  with 
him.  This  they  seemed  to  grant  unto,  but  for  their 
more  security  (knowing  how  little  hee  esteemed  oathes 
or  promises)  they  went  every  one  of  them  armed  with 
a  shorte  sword,  hanging  just  behind  under  their  gar- 
ments, so  that  the  Saxons  thought  not  of  any  weapons 
they  had:  but  it  proved  otherwise;  for  when  Hengist 
his  men  (that  were  placed  to  cut  them  off)  fell  all 
upon  th£m,  they  found  such  unlocked  a  resistance,  that 
most  of  the  Saxons  were  slaine,  and  they  that  escaped, 
wond'ring  how  they  could  doe  that  hurt,  having  no 
weapons  (as  they  saw),  reported  that  they  strucke 
downe  men  like  lyons  with  their  tayles;  and  so  they 
ever  after  were  called  Kentish  Long-tayles. 


I  told  him  this  was  strange,  if  true,  and  that  their 
countries  honor  bound  them  more  to  beleeve  in  this, 
then  it  did  me. 

Truly,  sir,  sayd  my  hoastesse,  I  thinke  we  are  called 
Long-tayles,  by  reason  our  tales  are  long,  that  we  use 
to  passe  the  time  withall,  and  make  our  selves  merry. 
Now,  good  hoastesse,  sayd  I,  let  me  entreat  from  you 
one  of  those  tales.  You  shall  (sayd  shee),  and  that 
shall  not  be  a  common  one  neither,  for  it  is  a  long  tale, 
a  merry  tale,  and  a  sweete  tale;  and  thus  it  beginnes. 


ONCE  upon  a  time,  a  great  while  agoe,  when  men  did 
eate  more  and  drinke  lesse, — then  men  were  more  honest, 
that  knew  no  knavery  then  some  now  are,  that  confesse 
the  knowledge  and  deny  the  practise — about  that  time 
(when  so  ere  it  was)  there  was  wont  to  walke  many 
harmlesse  spirits  called  fayries,  dancing  in  brave  order 
in  fayry  rings  on  greene  hills  with  sweete  musicke 
(sometime  invisible)  in  divers  shapes:  many  mad 
prankes  would  they  play,  as  pinching  of  sluts  black  and 
blue,  and  misplacing  things  in  ill-ordered  houses;  but 
lovingly  would  they  use  wenches  that  cleanly  were,  giving 
them  silver  and  other  pretty  toyes,  which  they  would 
leave  for  them,  sometimes  in  their  shooes,  other  times 
in  their  pockets,  sometimes  in  bright  basons  and  other 
cleane  vessels. 


Amongst  these  fayries  was  there  a  hee  fayrie : 
whether  he  was  their  king  or  no  I  know  not,  but  surely 
he  had  great  government  and  commaund  in  that  country, 
as  you  shall  heare.  This  same  hee  fayry  did  love  a 
proper  young  wench,  for  every  night  would  hee  with 
other  fayries  come  to  the  house,  and  there  dance  in  her 
chamber;  and  oftentimes  shee  was  forced  to  dance  with 
him,  and  at  his  departure  would  hee  leave  her  silver 
and  jewels,  to  expresse  his  love  unto  her.  At  last 
this  mayde  was  with  childe,  and  being  asked  who  was 
the  father  of  it,  she  answered  a  man  that  nightly  came 
to  visit  her,  but  earely  in  the  morning  he  would  go  his 
way,  whither  she  knew  not,  he  went  so  suddainly. 

Many  old  women,  that  then  had  more  wit  than  those 
that  are  now  living  and  have  lesse,  sayd  that  a  fayry 
had  gotten  her  with  childe;  and  they  bid  her  be  of 
good  comfort,  for  the  childe  must  needes  be  fortunate 
that  had  so  noble  a  father  as  a  fayry  was,  and  should 
worke  many  strange  wonders.  To  be  short,  her  time 
grew  on,  and  she  was  delivered  of  a  man  childe,  who 
(it  should  seeme)  so  rejoyced  his  father's  heart,  that 
every  night  his  mother  was  supplied  with  necessary 
things  that  are  befitting  a  woman  in  child-birth,  so 
that  in  no  meane  manner  neither;  for  there  had  shee 
rich  imbroidered  cushions,  stooles,  carpits,  coverlets, 
delicate  linnen:  then  for  meate  shee  had  capons, 
chickins,  mutton,  lambe,  phesant,  snite,  woodcocke, 
partridge,  quaile.  The  gossips  liked  this  fare  so  well, 
that  she  never  wanted  company:  wine  had  shee  of  all 
sorts,  as  muskadine,  sacke,  malmsie,  clarret,  white 


and  bastard:  this  pleased  her  neighbours  well,  so  that 
few  that  came  to  see  her,  but  they  had  home  with  them 
a  medicine  for  the  fleaes.  Sweet  meates  too  had  they 
in  such  aboundance,  that  some  of  their  teeth  are 
rotten  to  this  day;  and  for  musicke  shee  wanted  not, 
or  any  other  thing  she  desired. 

All  praysed  this  honest  fayry  for  his  care,  and  the 
childe  for  his  beauty,  and  the  mother  for  a  happy 
woman.  In  briefe,  christened  hee  was,  at  the  which 
all  this  good  cheare  was  doubled,  which  made  most  of 
the  women  so  wise,  that  they  forgot  to  make  them- 
selves unready,  and  so  lay  in  their  cloathes;  and  none 
of  them  next  day  could  remember ,  the  child's  name, 
but  the  clarke,  and  hee  may  thanke  his  booke  for  it, 
or  else  it  had  been  utterly  lost.  So  much  for  the  birth 
of  little  Robin. 


WHEN  Robin  was  growne  to  sixe  yeares  of  age,  hee 
was  so  knavish  that  all  the  neighbours  did  complaine  of 
him;  for  no  sooner  was  his  mother's  backe  turned,  but 
hee  was  in  one  knavish  action  or  other,  so  that  his 
mother  was  constrayned  (to  avoyde  the  complaints)  to 
take  him  with  her  to  market,  or  wheresoever  shee  went 
or  rid.  But  this  helped  little  or  nothing,  for  if  hee  rid 
before  her,  then  would  he  make  mouthes  and  ill-fa- 
voured faces  at  those  hee  met:  if  he  rid  behind  her, 
then  would  hee  clap  his  hand  on  his  tayle;  so  that  his 


mother  was  weary  of  the  many  complaints  that  came 
against  him,  yet  knew  she  not  how  to  beat  him  justly 
for  it,  because  she  never  saw  him  doe  that  which  was 
worthy  blowes.  The  complaints  were  daily  so  renewed 
that  his  mother  promised  him  a  whipping.  Robin  did 
not  like  that  cheere,  and  therefore,  to  avoyde  it,  hee 
ranne  away,  and  left  his  mother  a  heavy  woman  for  him. 


AFTER  that  Robin  Good-fellow  had  gone  a  great  way 
from  his  mother's  house  hee  began  to  bee  a  hungry, 
and  going  to  a  taylor's  house,  hee  asked  something  for 
God's  sake.  The  taylor  gave  him  meate,  and  under- 
standing that  he  was  masterlesse,  hee  tooke  him  for 
his  man,  and  Robin  so  plyed  his  worke  that  he  got  his 
master's  love. 

On  a  time  his  master  had  a  gowne  to  make  for  a 
woman,  and  it  was  to  bee  done  that  night:  they  both 
sate  up  late  so  that  they  had  done  all  but  setting 
on  the  sleeves  by  twelve  a  clocke.  This  master  then 
being  sleepy  sayd,  Robin  whip  thou  on  the  sleeves,  and 
then  come  thou  to  bed :  I  will  goe  to  bed  before.  I 
will,  sayd  Robin.  So,  soone  as  his  master  was  gone, 
Robin  hung  up  the  gowne,  and  taking  both  sleeves  in  his 
handes,  hee  whipt  and  lashed  them  on  the  gowne.  So 
stood  he  till  the  morning  that  his  master  came  downe:  his 
master  seeing  him  stand  in  that  fashion,  asked  him  what 
he  did?  Why,  quoth  hee,  as  you  bid  mee,  whip  on  the 
sleeves.  Thou  rogue,  sayd  his  master,  I  did  meane  that 


them  shouldest  have  set  them  on  quickly  and  slightly. 
I  would  you  had  sayd  so,  sayd  Robin,  for  then  had  I 
not  lost  all  this  sleepe.  To  bee  shorte,  his  master  was 
faine  to  do  the  worke,  but  ere  hee  had  made  an  end 
of  it,  the  woman  came  for  it,  and  with  a  loud  voyce 
chafed  for  her  gowne.  The  taylor,  thinking  to  please 
her,  bid  Robin  fetch  the  remnants  that  they  left  yes- 
terday (meaning  thereby  meate  that  was  left);  but 
Robin,  to  crosse  his  master  the  more,  brought  downe 
the  remnants  of  the  cloath  that  was  left  of  the  gowne. 
At  the  sight  of  this,  his  master  looked  pale,  but  the 
woman  was  glad,  saying,  I  like  this  breakefast  so  well, 
that  I  will  give  you  a  pint  of  wine  to  it.  She  sent 
Robin  for  the  wine,  but  he  never  returned  againe  to 
his  master. 


AFTER  Robin  had  travailed  a  good  dayes  journy  from 
his  masters  house  hee  sate  downe,  and  beeing  weary 
hee  fell  a  sleepe.  No  sooner  had  slumber  tooken  full 
possession  of  him,  and  closed  his  long  opened  eye-lids, 
but  hee  thought  he  saw  many  goodly  proper  personages 
in  anticke  measures  tripping  about  him,  and  withall 
hee  heard  such  musicke,  as  he  thought  that  Orpheus, 
that  famous  Greeke  fidler  (had  hee  beene  alive),  com- 
pared to  one  of  these  had  beene  as  infamous  as  a 
Welch-harper  that  playes  for  cheese  and  onions.  As 
delights  commonly  last  not  long,  so  did  those  end 


sooner  then  hee  would  willingly  they  should  have 
done;  and  for  very  griefe  he  awaked,  and  found  by 
him  lying  a  scroule,  wherein  was  written  these  lines 
following  in  golden  letters. 

Robin,  my  only  sonne  and  heire, 

How  to  live  take  thou  no  care : 

By  nature  thou  hast  cunning  shifts, 

Which  lie  increase  with  other  gifts. 

Wish  what  thou  wilt,  thou  shalt  it  have  ; 

And  for  to  vex  both  foole  and  knave, 

Thou  hast  the  power  to  change  thy  shape, 

To  horse,  to  hog,  to  dog,  to  ape. 

Transformed  thus,  by  any  meanes 

Seen  none  thou  harm'st  but  knaves  and  queanes ; 

But  love  thou  those  that  honest  be, 

And  helpe  them  in  necessity. 

Doe  thus,  and  all  the  world  shall  know 

The  prankes  of  Robin  Good-fellow  ; 

For  by  that  name  thou  cald  shalt  be 

To  ages  last  posterity. 

If  thou  observe  my  just  command, 

One  day  thou  shalt  see  Fayry  Land. 

This  more  I  give :  who  tels  thy  prankes 

From  those  that  heare  them  shall  have  thankes. 

Robin  having  read  this  was  very  joyfull,  yet  longed 
he  to  know  whether  he  had  this  power  or  not,  and  to 
try  it  hee  wished  for  some  meate :  presently  it  was 
before  him.  Then  wished  hee  for  beere  and  wine: 
he  straightway  had  it.  This  liked  him  well,  and 
because  he  was  weary,  he  wished  himselfe  a  horse: 
no  sooner  was  his  wish  ended,  but  he  was  transformed, 
and  seemed  a  horse  of  twenty  pound  price,  and  leaped 
and  curveted  as  nimble  as  if  he  had  beene  in  stable 


at  racke  and  manger  a  full  moneth.  Then  wished  he 
himselfe  a  dog,  and  was  so :  then  a  tree,  and  was  so : 
so  from  one  thing  to  another,  till  hee  was  certaine  and 
well  assured  that  hee  could  change  himselfe  to  any 
thing  whatsoever. 


ROBIN  GOOD-FELLOW  going  over  a  field  met  with  a 
clownish  fellow,  to  whom  he  spake  in  this  manner: 
Friend  (quoth  he)  what  is  a  clocke?  A  thing  (an- 
swered the  clowne)  that  shewes  the  time  of  the  day. 
Why  then  (sayd  Robin  Good-fellow)  bee  thou  a  clocke, 
and  tell  me  what  time  of  the  day  it  is.  I  owe  thee  not 
so  much  service  (answered  hee  againe),  but  because 
thou  shalt  thinke  thy  selfe  beholding  to  mee,  know 
that  it  is  the  same  time  of  the  day,  as  it  was  yesterday 
at  this  time. 

These  crosse  answers  vext  Robin  Good-fellow,  so 
that  in  himselfe  hee  vowed  to  be  revenged  of  him, 
which  he  did  in  this  manner. 

Robin  Good-fellow  turned  himselfe  into  a  bird,  and 
followed  this  fellow,  who  was  going  into  a  field  a  little 
from  that  place  to  catch  a  horse  that  was  at  grasse. 
The  horse  being  wilde  ran  over  dike  and  hedge,  and 
the  fellow  after,  but  to  little  purpose,  for  the  horse 
was  too  swift  for  him.  Robin  was  glad  of  this  occasion, 
for  now  or  never  was  the  time  to  put  his  revenge  in 


Presently  Robin  shaped  himselfe  like  to  the  horse 
that  the  fellow  followed,  and  so  stood  before  the  fellow : 
presently  the  fellow  tooke  hold  of  him  and  got  on  his 
backe,  but  long  had  he  not  rid,  but  with  a  stumble 
he  hurld  this  churlish  clowne  to  the  ground,  that 
he  almost  broke  his  necke;  yet  tooke  he  not  this  for 
a  sufficient  revenge  for  the  crosse  answers  he  had 
received,  but  stood  still  and  let  the  fellow  mount  him 
once  more. 

In  the  way  the  fellow  was  to  ride  was  a  great  plash 
of  water  of  a  good  depth:  thorow  this  must  he  of 
necessity  ride.  No  sooner  was  hee  in  the  middest  of 
it,  but  Robin  Good-fellow  left  him  with  nothing  but  a 
pack-saddle  betwixt  his  leggs,  and  in  the  shape  of  a 
fish  swomme  to  the  shore,  and  ran  away  laughing,  ho, 
ho,  hoh  !  leaving  the  poore  fellow  almost  drowned. 


ROBIN  going  by  a  woode  heard  two  lovers  make  great 
lamentation,  because  they  were  hindred  from  injoying 
each  other  by  a  cruell  old  leacher,  who  would  not 
suffer  this  loving  couple  to  marry.  Robin,  pittying 
them,  went  to  them  and  sayd:  I  have  heard  your 
complaints,  and  do  pitty  you :  be  ruled  by  me,  and  I 
will  see  that  you  shall  have  both  your  hearts  content, 
and  that  suddainly  if  you  please.  After  some  amaze- 
ment the  maiden  sayd,  Alas!  sir,  how  can  that  be? 
my  uncle,  because  I  will  not  grant  to  his  lust,  is  so 


straight  over  me,  and  so  oppresseth  me  with  worke 
night  and  day,  that  I  have  not  so  much  time  as  to 
drinke  or  speake  with  this  young  man,  whom  I  love 
above  all  men  living.  If  your  worke  bee  all  that 
hindreth  you  (sayd  Robin),  I  will  see  that  done:  aske 
mee  not  how,  nor  make  any  doubt  of  the  performance; 
I  will  doe  it.  Go  you  with  your  love:  for  24  houres 
I  will  free  you.  In  that  time  marry  or  doe  what  you 
will.  If  you  refuse  my  proffered  kindnesse  never 
looke  to  enjoy  your  wished  for  happinesse.  I  love 
true  lovers,  honest  men,  good  fellowes,  good  huswives, 
good  meate,  good  drinke,  and  all  things  that  good  is, 
but  nothing  that  is  ill;  for  my  name  is  Robin  Good- 
fellow,  and  that  you  shall  see  that  I  have  power  to 
performe  what  I  have  undertooke,  see  what  I  can  do. 
Presently  he  turned  himselfe  into  a  horse,  and  away 
he  ran:  at  the  sight  of  which  they  were  both  amazed, 
but  better  considering  with  themselves,  they  both 
determined  to  make  good  use  of  their  time,  and  pre- 
sently they  went  to  an  old  fryer,  who  presently 
married  them.  They  payd  him,  and  went  their  way. 
Where  they  supped  and  lay,  I  know  not,  but  surely 
they  liked  their  lodging  well  the  next  day. 

Robin,  when  that  he  came  neare  the  old  man's 
house,  turned  himselfe  into  the  shape  of  the  young 
maide,  and  entred  the  house,  where,  after  much  chid- 
ing, he  fell  to  the  worke  that  the  mayde  had  to  do, 
which  hee  did  in  halfe  the  time  that  another  could  do 
it  in.  The  old  man,  seeing  the  speede  he  made, 
thought  that  she  had  some  meeting  that  night  (for 


he  tooke  Robin  Good-fellow  for  his  neece):  therfore  he 
gave  him  order  for  other  worke,  that  was  too  much 
for  any  one  to  do  in  one  night:  Robin  did  that  in  a 
trise,  and  playd  many  mad  prankes  beside  ere  the  day 

In  the  morning  hee  went  to  the  two  lovers  to  their 
bed-side,  and  bid  God  give  them  joy,  and  told  them 
all  things  went  well,  and  that  ere  night  he  would 
bring  them  10  pounds  of  her  uncles  to  beginne  the 
world  with.  They  both  thanked  him,  which  was  all 
the  requital  that  he  looked  for,  and  beeing  therewith 
well  contented  hee  went  his  way  laughing. 

Home  went  he  to  the  old  man,  who  then  was  by, 
and  marveiled  how  the  worke  was  done  so  soone. 
Robin,  seeing  that,  sayd :  Sir,  I  pray  marvaile  not, 
for  a  greater  wonder  then  that  this  night  hath  hap- 
pened to  me.  Good  neece,  what  is  that  ?  (sayd  the 
old  man)  This,  Sir;  but  I  shame  to  speake  it,  yet  I 
will :  weary  with  worke,  I  slept,  and  did  dreame  that 
I  consented  to  that  which  you  have  so  often  desired  of 
me  (you  know  what  it  is  I  meane),  and  me  thought 
you  gave  me  as  a  reward  10  pounds,  with  your  consent 
to  marry  that  young  man  that  I  have  loved  so  long. 
Diddest  thou  dreame  so  ?  thy  dreame  I  will  make 
good,  for  under  my  hand  wrighting  I  give  my  free 
consent  to  marry  him,  or  whom  thou  doest  please  to 
marry  (and  withall  writ)  and  for  the  10  pounds,  goe 
but  into  the  out  barne,  and  I  will  bring  it  thee  pre- 
sently. How  sayst  thou  (sayd  the  old  leacher),  wilt 
thou  ?  Robin  with  silence  did  seeme  to  grant,  and 


went  toward  the  barne.  The  old  man  made  haste, 
told  out  his  money,  and  followed. 

Being  come  thither,  he  hurled  the  money  on  the 
ground,  saying,  This  is  the  most  pleasing  bargaine 
that  ever  I  made;  and  going  to  embrace  Robin,  Robin 
tooke  him  up  in  his  armes  and  carried  him  foorth; 
first  drew  him  thorow  a  pond  to  coole  his  hot  blood, 
then  did  he  carry  him  where  the  young  married  couple 
were,  and  said,  Here  is  your  uncle's  consent  under  his 
hand;  then,  here  is  the  10  pounds  he  gave  you  and 
there  is  your  uncle  :  let  him  deny  it  if  hee  can. 

The  old  man,  for  feare  of  worse  usage,  said  all  was 
true.  Then  am  I  as  good  as  my  word,  said  Robin, 
and  so  went  away  laughing.  The  old  man  knew  him- 
selfe  duly  punished,  and  turned  his  hatred  into  love, 
and  thought  afterward  as  well  of  them,  as  if  shee  had 
beene  his  owne.  The  second  part  shall  shew  many 
incredible  things  done  by  Robin  Good-fellow  (or 
otherwise  called  Hob-goblin)  and  his  companions,  by 
turning  himselfe  into  divers  sundry  shapes. 















ROBIN  GOOD -FELLOW  oftentimes  would  in  the  night 
visite  farmers  houses,  and  helpe  the  maydes  to  breake 
hempe,  to  bowlt,  to  dresse  flaxe,  and  to  spin  and  do 
other  workes,  for  hee  was  excellent  in  every  thing. 
One  night  hee  comes  to  a  farmers  house,  where  there 
was  a  goode  handsome  mayde:  this  mayde  having 
much  worke  to  do,  Robin  one  night  did  helpe  her,  and 
in  sixe  houres  did  bowlt  more  than  she  could  have 
done  in  twelve  houres.  The  mayde  wondred  the  next 
day  how  her  worke  came,  and  to  know  the  doer,  shee 
watched  the  next  night  that  did  follow.  About  twelve 
of  the  clocke  in  came  Robin,  and  fell  to  breaking  of 
hempe,  and  for  to  delight  himselfe  he  sung  this  mad 

And  can  the  physitian  make  sicke  men  well? 
And  can  the  magician  a  fortune  devine  ? 
Without  lilly,  germander  and  sops  in  wine  ? 

With  sweet-bryer 

And  bon-fire, 

And  straw -berry  wyer, 

And  collumbine. 



Within  and  out,  in  and  out,  round  as  a  ball, 
With  hither  and  thither,  as  straight  as  a  line, 
With  lilly,  germander  and  sops  in  wine. 

With  sweet-bryer, 

And  bon-fire, 

And  straw-berry  wyer, 

And  collumbine. 

When  Saturne  did  live,  there  lived  no  poore, 
The  king  and  the  beggar  with  rootes  did  dine, 
With  lilly,  germander,  and  sops  in  wine. 

With  sweet-bryer, 

And  bon-fire, 

And  straw-berry  wyer, 

And  collumbine. 

The  mayde,  seeing  him  bare  in  clothes,  pittied  him, 
and  against  the  next  night  provided  him  a  wast-coate. 
Robin  comming  the  next  night  to  worke,  as  he  did 
before,  espied  the  wast-coate,  whereat  he  started  and 
said: — 

Because  thou  lay'st  me  himpen,  hampen, 
I  will  neither  bolt  nor  stampen : 
'Tis  not  your  garments  new  or  old 
That  Robin  loves :  I  feele  no  cold. 
Had  you  left  me  milke  or  creame, 
You  should  have  had  a  pleasing  dreame : 
Because  you  left  no  drop  or  crum, 
Eobin  never  more  will  come. 

So  went  hee  away  laughing  ho,  ho,  hoh  !  The  mayde 
was  much  grieved  and  discontented  at  his  anger :  for 
ever  after  she  was  faine  to  do  her  worke  herselfe  with- 
out the  helpe  of  Robin  Good-fellow. 



A  COMPANY  of  young  men  having  beene  making  merry 
with  their  sweet  hearts,  were  at  their  comming  home  to 
come  over  a  heath.  Robin  Good-fellow,  knowing  of  it, 
met  them,  and  to  make  some  pastime,  hee  led  them  up 
and  downe  the  heath  a  whole  night,  so  that  they  could 
not  get  out  of  it;  for  hee  went  before  them  in  the  shape 
of  a  walking  fire,  which  they  all  saw  and  followed  till 
the  day  did  appeare:  then  Robin  left  them,  and  at  his 
departure  spake  these  words: — 

Get  you  home,  you  merry  lads : 
Tell  your  mammies  and  your  dads, 
And  all  those  that  newes  desire, 
How  you  saw  a  walking  fire. 
Wenches,  that  doe  smile  and  lispe 
Use  to  call  me  Willy  Wispe. 
If  that  you  but  weary  be, 
It  is  sport  alone  for  me. 
Away :  unto  your  houses  goe 
And  I'le  goe  laughing  ho,  ho,  hoh  ! 

The  feUowes  were  glad  that  he  was  gone,  for  they 
were  all  in  a  great  feare  that  hee  would  have  done 
them  some  mischiefe. 


ROBIN  alwayes  did  helpe  those  that  suffered  wrong, 
and  never  would  hurt  any  but  those  that  did  wrong  to 


others.  It  was  his  chance  one  day  to  goe  thorow  a 
field  where  he  heard  one  call  for  helpe  :  hee,  going 
neere  where  he  heard  the  cry,  saw  a  lusty  gallant  that 
would  have  forced  a  young  maiden  to  his  lust;  but  the 
mayden  in  no  wise  would  yeelde,  which  made  her  cry 
for  helpe.  Robin  Good-fellow,  seeing  of  this,  turned 
himselfe  into  the  shape  of  a  hare,  and  so  ranne  betweene 
the  lustfull  gallants  legges.  This  gallant,  thinking  to 
have  taken  him,  hee  presently  turned  himselfe  into  a 
horse,  and  so  perforce  carried  away  this  gallant  on  his 
backe.  The  gentleman  cryed  out  for  helpe,  for  he 
thought  that  the  devill  had  bin  come  to  fetch  him  for 
his  wickednesse  ;  but  his  crying  was  in  vaine,  for 
Robin  did  carry  him  into  a  thicke  hedge,  and  there  left 
him  so  prickt  and  scratched,  that  hee  more  desired  a 
playster  for  his  paine,  then  a  wench  for  his  pleasure. 
Thus  the  poore  mayde  was  freed  from  this  ruffin,  and 
Robin  Good-fellow,  to  see  this  gallant  so  tame,  went 
away  laughing,  ho,  ho,  hoh  / 


IN  this  country  of  ours  there  was  a  rich  man  dwelled, 
who  to  get  wealth  together  was  so  sparing  that  hee 
could  not  find  in  his  heart  to  give  his  belly  foode 
enough.  In  the  winter  hee  never  would  make  so 
much  fire  as  would  roast  a  blacke-pudding,  for  hee 
found  it  more  profitable  to  sit  by  other  means.  His 
apparell  was  of  the  fashion  that  none  did  weare  ;  for  it 


was  such  as  did  hang  at  a  brokers  stall,  till  it  was  as 
weather-beaten  as  an  old  signe.  This  man  for  his 
covetousnesse  was  so  hated  of  all  his  neighbours,  that 
there  was  not  one  that  gave  him  a  good  word.  Robin 
Good-fellow  grieved  to  see  a  man  of  such  wealth  doe 
so  little  good,  and  therefore  practised  to  better  him  in 
this  manner. 

One  night  the  usurer  being  in  bed,  Robin  in  the 
shape  of  a  night-raven  came  to  the  window,  and  there 
did  beate  with  his  wings,  and  croaked  in  such  manner 
that  this  old  usurer  thought  hee  should  have  presently 
dyed  for  feare.  This  was  but  a  preparation  to  what 
he  did  intend;  for  presently  after  hee  appeared  before 
him  at  his  bed's  feete,  in  the  shape  of  a  ghost,  with  a 
torch  in  his  hand.  At  the  sight  of  this  the  old  usurer 
would  have  risen  out  of  his  bed,  and  have  leaped  out 
of  the  window,  but  he  was  stayed  by  Robin  Good- 
fellow,  who  spake  to  him  thus. 

If  thou  dost  stirre  out  of  thy  bed, 
I  doo  vow  to  strike  thee  dead. 
I  doe  come  to  doe  thee  good  ; 
Eecall  thy  wits  and  starkled  blood. 
The  mony  which  thou  up  dost  store 
In  soule  and  body  makes  thee  poore. 
Doe  good  with  mony  while  you  may  ; 
Thou  hast  not  long  on  earth  to  stay. 
Doe  good,  I  say,  or  day  and  night 
I  hourely  thus  will  thee  afright. 
Thinke  on  my  words,  and  so  farewell, 
For  being  bad  I  live  in  hell. 

Having  said  thus  he  vanished  away  and  left  this 
usurer  in  great  terror  of  mind;  and  for  feare  of  being 


frighted  againe  with  this  ghost,  hee  turned  very  libe- 
rall,  and  lived  amongst  his  neighbours  as  an  honest  man 
should  doe. 




ONE  day  Robin  Good-fellow  walking  thorow  the  streete 
found  at  a  doore  sitting  a  pretty  woman :  this  woman 
was  wife  to  the  weaver,  and  was  a  winding  of  quils  for 
her  husband.  Robin  liked  her  so  well,  that  for  her 
sake  he  became  servant  to  her  husband,  and  did  daily 
worke  at  the  loome;  but  all  the  kindnesse  that  hee 
shewed  was  but  lost,  for  his  mistres  would  shew  him 
no  favour,  which  made  him  many  times  to  exclame 
against  the  whole  sex  in  satyricall  songs;  and  one  day 
being  at  worke  he  sung  this,  to  the  tune  of  Rejoyce 
Bag -pipes. 

Why  should  my  love  now  waxe 

Unconstant,  wavering,  fickle,  unstayd  ? 
With  nought  can  she  me  taxe : 

I  ne're  recanted  what  I  once  said. 
I  now  doe  see,  as  nature  fades, 

And  all  her  workes  decay, 
So  women  all,  wives,  widdowes,  maydes, 

From  bad  to  worse  doe  stray. 

As  hearbs,  trees,  rootes,  and  plants 
In  strength  and  growth  are  daily  lesse, 

So  all  things  have  their  wants : 

The  heavenly  signes  moove  and  digresse ; 


And  honesty  in  womens  hearts 

Hath  not  her  former  being : 
Their  thoughts  are  ill,  like  other  parts, 

Nought  else  in  them's  agreeing. 

I  sooner  thought  thunder 

Had  power  o're  the  laurell  wreath, 
Then  shee,  women's  wonder, 

Such  perjurd  thoughts  should  live  to  breathe. 
They  all  hyena-like  will  weepe, 

When  that  they  would  deceive : 
Deceit  in  them  doth  lurke  and  sleepe, 

Which  makes  me  thus  to  grieve. 

Young  mans  delight,  farewell ; 

Wine,  women,  game,  pleasure,  adieu: 
Content  with  me  shall  dwell ; 

I'le  nothing  trust  but  what  is  true. 
Though  she  were  false,  for  her  I'le  pray ; 

Her  false-hood  made  me  blest: 
I  will  renew  from  this  good  day 

My  life  by  sinne  opprest. 

Moved  with  this  song  and  other  complaints  of  his, 
shee  at  last  did  fancy  him,  so  that  the  weaver  did  not 
like  that  Robin  should  bee  so  saucy  with  his  wife,  and 
therefore  gave  him  warning  to  be  gone,  for  hee  would 
keepe  him  no  longer.  This  grieved  this  loving  couple 
to  parte  one  from  the  other,  which  made  them  to  make 
use  of  the  time  that  they  had.  The  weaver  one  day 
comming  in,  found  them  a  kissing:  at  this  hee  said 
[nothing]  but  vowed  in  himselfe  to  bee  revenged  of 
his  man  that  night  following.  Night  being  come,  the 
weaver  went  to  Robin's  bed,  and  tooke  him  out  of  it 
(as  hee  then  thought)  and  ran  apace  to  the  river  side  to 


hurle  Robin  in  ;  but  the  weaver  was  deceived,  for 
Robin,  instead  of  himselfe,  had  laid  in  his  bed  a  sack  full 
of  yarne:  it  was  that  that  the  weaver  carried  to  drowne. 
The  weaver  standing  by  the  river  side  said: — Now  will 
I  coole  your  hot  blood,  Master  Robert,  and  if  you  can- 
not swimme  the  better;  you  shall  sincke  and  drowne. 
With  that  he  hurled  the  sack  in,  thinking  that  it  had 
bin  Robin  Good-fellow.  Robin,  standing  behind  him, 
said : — 

For  this  your  kindnesse,  master,  I  you  thanke : 
Go  swimme  yourselfe  ;  I'le  stay  upon  the  banke. 

With  that  Robin  pushed  him  in,  and  went  laughing 
away,  ho,  ho,  hoh  ! 




ON  a  time  there  was  a  great  wedding,  to  which  there 
went  many  young  lusty  lads  and  pretty  lasses.  Robin 
Good-fellow  longing  not  to  be  out  of  action,  shaped 
himselfe  like  unto  a  fidler,  and  with  his  crowd  under 
his  arme  went  amongst  them,  and  was  a  very  welcome 
man.  There  played  hee  whilst  they  danced,  and  tooke 
as  much  delight  in  seeing  them,  as  they  did  in  hearing 
him.  At  dinner  he  was  desired  to  sing  a  song,  which 
hee  did,  to  the  tune  of  Watton  Townees  End. 



It  was  a  country  lad 

That  fashions  strange  would  see, 
And  he  came  to  a  valting  schoole, 

Where  tumblers  use  to  be: 
He  lik't  his  sport  so  well, 

That  from  it  he'd  not  part: 
His  doxey  to  him  still  did  cry, 

Come,  busse  thine  owne  sweet  heart. 

They  lik't  his  gold  so  well, 

That  they  were  both  content, 
That  he  that  night  with  his  sweet  heart 

Should  passe  in  merry-ment. 
To  bed  they  then  did  goe ; 

Full  well  he  knew  his  part, 
Where  he  with  words,  and  eke  with  deedes, 

Did  busse  his  owne  sweet  heart. 

Long  were  they  not  in  bed, 

But  one  knockt  at  the  doore, 
And  said,  Up,  rise,  and  let  me  in : 

This  vext  both  knave  and  whore. 
He  being  sore  perplex  t 

From  bed  did  lightly  start ; 
No  longer  then  could  he  indure 

To  busse  his  owne  sweet  heart. 

With  tender  steps  he  trod, 

To  see  if  he  could  spye 
The  man  that  did  him  so  molest ; 

Which  he  with  heavy  eye 
Had  soone  beheld,  and  said, 

Alas !  my  owne  sweet  heart, 
I  now  doe  doubt,  if  e're  we  busse, 

It  must  be  in  a  cart. 

At  last  the  bawd  arose, 

And  opened  the  doore, 
And  saw  Discretion  cloth'd  in  rug, 

Whose  office  hates  a  whore. 


He  mounted  up  the  stayres, 

Being  cunning  in  his  arte  : 
With  little  search  at  last  he  found 

My  youth  and  his  sweete  heart. 

He  having  wit  at  will, 

Unto  them  both  did  say, 
I  will  not  heare  them  speake  one  word ; 

Watchmen,  with  them  away ! 
And  cause  they  lov'd  so  well, 

'Tis  pitty  they  should  part. 
Away  with  them  to  new  Bride-well ; 

There  busse  your  own  sweet  heart. 

His  will  it  was  fulfild, 

And  there  they  had  the  law ; 
And  whilst  that  they  did  nimbly  spin, 

The  hempe  he  needs  must  taw. 
He  grownd,  he  thump't,  he  grew 

So  cunning  in  his  arte, 
He  learnt  the  trade  of  beating  hempe 

By  bussing  his  sweet  heart. 

But  yet,  he  still  would  say, 

If  I  could  get  release 
To  see  strange  fashions  I'le  give  o're, 

And  henceforth  live  in  peace, 
The  towne  where  I  was  bred, 

And  thinke  by  my  desert 
To  come  no  more  into  this  place 

For  bussing  my  sweet  heart. 

They  all  liked  his  song  very  well,  and  said  that  the 
young  man  had  but  ill  lucke.  Thus  continued  hee 
playing  and  singing  songs  till  candle-light:  then  hee 
beganne  to  play  his  merry  trickes  in  this  manner. 
First,  hee  put  out  the  candles,  and  then  beeing  darke, 
hee  strucke  the  men  good  boxes  on  the  eares:  they, 


thinking  it  had  beene  those  that  did  sit  next  them,  fell 
a  fighting  one  with  the  other;  so  that  there  was  not 
one  of  them  but  had  either  a  broken  head  or  a  bloody 
nose.  At  this  Robin  laughed  heartily.  The  women  did 
not  scape  him,  for  the  handsomest  he  kissed;  the  other 
he  pinched,  and  made  them  scratch  one  the  other,  as  if 
they  had  beene  cats.  Candles  being  lighted  againe, 
they  all  were  friends,  and  fell  againe  to  dancing,  and 
after  to  supper. 

Supper  beeing  ended,  a  great  posset  was  brought 
forth:  at  this  Robin  Good-fellowes  teeth  did  water,  for 
it  looked  so  lovely  that  hee  could  not  keepe  from  it. 
To  attaine  to  his  wish,  he  did  turne  himselfe  into  a 
beare  :  both  men  and  women  (seeing  a  beare  amongst 
them)  ranne  away,  and  left  the  whole  posset  to  Robin 
Good-fellow.  He  quickly  made  an  end  of  it,  and 
went  away  without  his  money;  for  the  sport  hee 
had  was  better  to  him  then  any  money  whatsoever. 
The  feare  that  the  guests  were  in  did  cause  such  a 
smell,  that  the  Bride-groome  did  call  for  perfumes ;  and 
in  stead  of  a  posset,  he  was  faine  to  make  use  of  cold 


THERE  was  a  tapster,  that  with  his  pots  smalnesse, 
and  with  frothing  of  his  drinke,  had  got  a  good  summe 
of  money  together.  This  nicking  of  the  pots  he  would 
never  leave,  yet  divers  times  he  had  been  under 


the  hand  of  authority,  but  what  money  soever  hee  had 
[to  pay]  for  his  abuses,  hee  would  be  sure  (as  they  all 
doe)  to  get  it  out  of  the  poore  mans  pot  againe.  Robin 
Goodfellow,  hating  such  knavery,  put  a  tricke  upon 
him  in  this  manner. 

Robin  shaped  himselfe  like  to  the  tapsters  brewer, 
and  came  and  demaunded  twenty  pounds  which  was 
due  to  him  from  the  tapster.  The  tapster,  thinking  it 
had  beene  his  brewer,  payd  him  the  money,  which 
money  Robin  gave  to  the  poore  of  that  parish  before 
the  tapster's  face.  The  tapster  praysed  his  charity 
very  much,  and  sayd  that  God  would  blesse  him  the 
better  for  such  good  deedes :  so,  after  they  had  drank 
one  with  the  other,  they  parted. 

Some  foure  dayes  after  the  brewer  himselfe  came 
for  his  money :  the  tapster  told  him  that  it  was  payd, 
and  that  he  had  a  quittance  from  him  to  shew.  Hereat 
the  brewer  did  wonder,  and  desired  to  see  the  quit- 
tance. The  tapster  fetched  him  a  writing,  which  Robin 
Good-fellow  had  given  him  in  stead  of  a  quittance, 
wherein  was  written  as  followeth,  which  the  brewer 
read  to  him. 

I,  Eobin  Good-fellow,  true  man  and  honest  man,  doe  acknow- 
ledge to  have  received  of  Nicke  and  Froth,  the  cheating 
tapster,  the  summe  of  twenty  pound,  which  money  I  have 
bestowed  (to  the  tapsters  content)  amongst  the  poore  of  the 
parish,  out  of  whose  pockets  this  aforesayd  tapster  had 
picked  the  aforesaid  summe,  not  after  the  manner  of  foisting, 
but  after  his  excellent  skill  of  bombasting,  or  a  pint  for  a 

If  now  thou  wilt  goe  hang  thy  selfe, 
Then  take  thy  apron-strings. 


It  doth  me  good  when  such  foule  birds 
Upon  the  gallowes  sings. 


At  this  the  tapster  swore  Walsingham;  but  for  all 
his  swearing,  the  brewer  made  hini  pay  him  his  twenty 


KING  OBREON,  seeing  Robin  Good-fellow  doe  so  many 
honest  and  merry  trickes,  called  him  one  night  out  of 
his  bed  with  these  words,  saying : 

Robin,  my  sonne,  come  quickly,  rise : 

First  stretch,  then  yawne,  and  rub  your  eyes ; 

For  thou  must  goe  with  me  to  night, 

To  see,  and  taste  of  my  delight. 

Quickly  come,  my  wanton  sonne  ; 

Twere  time  our  sports  were  now  begunne. 

Robin,  hearing  this,  rose  and  went  to  him.  There 
were  with  King  Obreon  a  many  fayries,  all  attyred  in 
greene  silke:  all  these,  with  King  Obreon,  did  welcome 
Robin  Good-fellow  into  their  company.  Obreon  tooke 
Robin  by  the  hand  and  led  him  a  dance :  their  musi- 
cian was  little  Tom  Thumb ;  for  hee  had  an  excellent 
bag-pipe  made  of  a  wrens  quill,  and  the  skin  of  a  Green- 
land louse:  this  pipe  was  so  shrill,  and  so  sweete,  that  a 
Scottish  pipe  compared  to  it,  it  would  no  more  come 
neere  it,  then  a  Jewes-trump  doth  to  an  Irish  harpe. 


After  they  had  danced,  King  Obreon    spake   to   his 
sonne,  Robin  Good-fellow,  in  this  manner: 

When  ere  you  heare  my  piper  blow, 
From  thy  bed  see  that  thou  goe  ; 
For  nightly  you  must  with  us  dance, 
When  we  in  circles  round  doe  prance. 
I  love  thee,  sonne,  and  by  the  hand 
I  carry  thee  to  Fairy  Land, 
Where  thou  shalt  see  what  no  man  knowes: 
Such  love  thee  King  Obreon  owes. 

So  marched  they  in  good  manner  (with  their  piper 
before)  to  the  Fairy  Land:  there  did  King  Obreon 
shew  Robin  Good-fellow  many  secrets,  which  hee  never 
did  open  to  the  world. 


ROBIN  GOOD -FELLOW  would  many  times  walke  in  the 
night  with  a  broome  on  his  shoulder,  and  cry  chimney 
sweepe,  but  when  any  one  did  call  him,  then  would  he 
runne  away  laughing  ho,  ho,  hoh  !  Somtime  hee  would 
counterfeit  a  begger,  begging  very  pitifully,  but  when 
they  came  to  give  him  an  almes,  he  would  runne  away, 
laughing  as  his  manner  was.  Sometimes  would  hee 
knocke  at  mens  doores,  and  when  the  servants  came, 
he  would  blow  out  the  candle,  if  they  were  men ;  but 
if  they  were  women,  hee  would  not  onely  put  out  their 
light,  but  kisse  them  full  sweetly,  and  then  go  away 
as  his  fashion  was,  ho,  ho,  hoh!  Oftentimes  would 
he  sing  at  a  doore  like  a  singing  man,  and  when  they 


did  come  to  give  him  his  reward,  he  would  turne  his 
backe  and  laugh.  In  these  humors  of  his  hee  had 
many  pretty  songs,  which  I  will  sing  as  perfect  as  I 
can.  For  his  chimney-sweepers  humors  he  had  these 
songs :  the  first  is  to  the  tune  of,  I  have  beene  a  fiddler 
these  jifteene  yeeres. 

Blacke  I  am  from  head  to  foote, 
And  all  doth  come  by  chimney  soote : 
Then,  mayclens,  come  and  cherrish  him 
That  makes  your  chimnies  neat  and  trim. 

Homes  have  I  store,  but  all  at  my  backe  ; 
My  head  no  ornament  doth  lacke : 
I  give  my  homes  to  other  men, 
And  ne're  require  them  againe. 

Then  come  away,  you  wanton  wives, 
That  love  your  pleasures  as  your  lives : 
To  each  good  woman  He  give  two, 
Or  more,  if  she  thinke  them  too  few. 

Then  would  he  change  his  note  and  sing  this  follow- 
ing, to  the  tune  of  What  care  I  hoivfaire  she  be  ? 

Be  she  blacker  then  the  stocke, 

If  that  thou  wilt  make  her  faire, 
Put  her  in  a  cambricke  smocke, 

Buy  her  painte  and  flaxen  haire. 

One  your  carrier  brings  to  towne 

Will  put  downe  your  city  bred  ; 
Put  her  on  a  brokers  gowne, 

That  will  sell  her  mayden-head. 

Comes  your  Spaniard,  proud  in  minde, 
Heele  have  the  first  cut,  or  else  none : 

The  meeke  Italian  comes  behind, 

And  your  French-man  pickes  the  bone. 


Still  she  trades  with  Dutch  arid  Scot, 
Irish,  and  the  Germaine  tall, 

Till  she  get  the  thing  you  wot ; 
Then  her  ends  an  hospitall. 

A  song  to  the  tune  of  The  Spanish  Pavin. 

When  Vertue  was  a  country  maide, 
And  had  no  skill  to  set  up  trade, 
She  came  up  with  a  carriers  jade, 

And  lay  at  racke  and  manger. 
She  whift  her  pipe,  she  drunke  her  can, 
The  pot  was  nere  out  of  her  span ; 
She  married  a  tobacco  man, 

A  stranger,  a  stranger. 

They  set  up  shop  in  Hunney  Lane, 
And  thither  flyes  did  swarme  amaine, 
Some  from  France,  some  from  Spaine, 

Traind  in  by  scurvy  panders. 
At  last  this  hunney  pot  grew  dry, 
Then  both  were  forced  for  to  fly 

To  Flanders,  to  Flanders. 

Another  to  the  tune  of  The  Coranto. 

I  peeped  in  at  the  Wool  sacke,     • 

O,  what  a  goodly  sight  did  I 

Behold  at  mid-night  chyme! 

The  wenches  were  drinking  of  muld  sacke ; 

Each  youth  on  his  knee,  that  then  did  want 

A  yeere  and  a  halfe  of  his  time. 
They  leaped  and  skipped, 
They  kissed  and  they  clipped, 
And  yet  it  was  counted  no  crime. 

The  grocers  chiefe  servant  brought  sugar, 
And  out  of  his  leather  pocket  he  puld, 
And  kuld  some  pound  and  a  halfe  ; 


For  which  he  was  suff'erd  to  sniacke  her 

That  was  his  sweet-heart,  and  would  not  depart, 

But  turn'd  and  Hckt  the  calfe. 

He  rung  her,  and  he  flung  her, 
He  kist  her,  and  he  swung  her, 
And  yet  she  did  nothing  but  laugh. 

Thus  would  he  sing  about  cities  and  townes,  and 
when  any  one  called  him,  he  would  change  his  shape, 
and  go  laughing  ho,  ho,  hoh  !  For  his  humors  of 
begging  he  used  this  song,  to  the  tune  of  The  Jovial 

Good  people  of  this  mansion, 

Unto  the  poore  be  pleased 
To  doe  some  good,  and  give  some  food, 

That  hunger  may  be  eased. 
My  limbes  with  fire  are  burned, 

My  goods  and  lands  defaced ; 
Of  wife  and  child  I  am  beguild, 

So  much  am  I  debased. 
Oh,  give  the  poore  some  bread,  cheese,  or  butter, 

Bacon,  hempe,  or  flaxe  ; 
Some  pudding  bring,  or  other  thing : 

My  need  doth  make  me  aske. 

I  am  no  common  begger, 

Nor  am  I  skild  in  canting: 
You  nere  shall  see  a  wench  with  me, 

Such  trickes  in  me  are  wanting. 
I  curse  not  if  you  give  not, 

But  still  I  pray  and  blesse  you, 
Still  wishing  joy,  and  that  annoy 

May  never  more  possesse  you. 
Oh,  give  the  poore  some  bread,  cheese  or  butter, 

Bacon,  hempe  or  flaxe ; 
Some  pudding  bring,  or  other  thing, 

My  neede  doth  make  me  aske. 


When  any  came  to  releeve  him,  then  would  he 
change  hirnselfe  into  some  other  shape,  and  runne 
laughing,  ho,  ho,  hoh  !  Then  would  hee  shape  him- 
selfe  like  to  a  singing  man;  and  at  mens  windowes  and 
doores  sing  civil  and  vertuous  songs,  one  of  which  I 
will  sing  to  the  tune  of  Broome. 

If  thou  wilt  lead  a  blest  and  happy  life, 

I  will  describe  the  perfect  way : 
First  must  thou  shun  all  cause  of  mortall  strife, 
Against  thy  lusts  continually  to  pray. 
Attend  unto  Gods  word: 
Great  comfort  'twill  afford ; 
'Twill  keepe  thee  from  discord. 
Then  trust  in  God,  the  Lord, 
for  ever, 
for  ever ; 
And  see  in  this  thou  persever. 

So  soone  as  day  appeareth  in  the  east 

Give  thanks  to  him,  and  mercy  crave  ; 
So  in  this  life  thou  shalt  be  surely  blest, 
And  mercy  shalt  thou  find  in  grave. 
The  conscience  that  is  cleere 
No  horror  doth  it  feare ; 
'Tis  voyd  of  mortall  care, 
And  never  doth  despaire  ; 
but  ever, 
but  ever 
Doth  in  the  word  of  God  persever. 

Thus  living,  when  thou  drawest  to  thy  end 

Thy  joy es  they  shall  much  more  encrease, 
For  then  thy  soule,  thy  true  and  loving  friend, 
By  death  shall  find  a  wisht  release 
From  all  that  caused  sinne, 
In  which  it  lived  in  ; 


For  then  it  doth  beginne 
Those  blessed  joy es  to  win, 

for  ever, 

for  ever, 
For  there  is  nothing  can  them  sever. 

Those  blessed  joyes  which  then  thou  shalt  possesse, 

No  mortall  tongue  can  them  declare : 
All  earthly  joyes,  compar'd  with  this,  are  lesse 
Then  smallest  mote  to  the  world  so  faire. 
Then  is  not  that  man  blest 
That  must  injoy  this  rest  ? 
Full  happy  is  that  guest 
Invited  to  this  feast, 
that  ever, 
that  ever 
Indureth,  and  is  ended  never. 

When  they  opened  the  window  or  doore,  then 
would  he  runne  away  laughing  ho,  ho,  hoh  !  Some- 
times would  he  goe  like  a  Belman  in  the  night,  and 
with  many  pretty  verses  delight  the  eares  of  those 
that  waked  at  his  bell  ringing :  his  verses  were  these. 

Maydes  in  your  smockes, 

Looke  well  to  your  lockes, 

And  your  tinder  boxe, 

Your  wheeles  and  your  rockes, 

Your  hens  and  your  cockes, 

Your  cowes  and  your  oxe, 

And  beware  of  the  foxe. 

When  the  Bell-man  knockes, 

Put  out  your  fire  and  candle  light, 

So  they  shall  not  you  affright : 

May  you  dreame  of  your  delights, 

In  your  sleeps  see  pleasing  sights. 

Good  rest  to  all,  both  old  and  young: 

The  Bell-man  now  hath  clone  his  song. 


Then  would  he  goe  laughing  ho,  ho,  hoh  !  as  his  use 
was.  Thus  would  he  continually  practise  himselfe  in 
honest  mirth,  never  doing  hurt  to  any  that  were  cleanly 
and  honest  minded. 




ROBIN  GOOD-FELLOW  being  walking  one  night  heard 
the  excellent  musickeof  Tom  Thumbs  brave  bag-pipe: 
he,  remembering  the  sound  (according  to  the  command 
of  King  Obreon)  went  toward  them.  They,  for  joy 
that  he  was  come,  did  circle  him  in,  and  in  a  ring  did 
dance  round  about  him.  Robin  Good-fellow,  seeing 
their  love  to  him,  danced  in  the  midst  of  them,  and 
sung  them  this  song  to  the  tune  of  To  him  Bun. 


Round  about,  little  ones,  quick  and  nimble, 

In  and  out  wheele  about,  run,  hop,  or  amble. 

Joyne  your  hands  lovingly :  well  done,  musition ! 

Mirth  keepeth  man  in  health  like  a  phisition. 

Elves,  urchins,  goblins  all,  and  little  fairyes 

That  doe  fillch,  blacke,  and  pinch  mayds  of  the  dairyes ; 

Make  a  ring  on  the  grasse  with  your  quicke  measures, 

Tom  shall  play,  and  He  sing  for  all  your  pleasures. 

Pinch  and  Patch,  Gull  and  Grim, 

Goe  you  together, 
For  you  can  change  your  shapes 

Like  to  the  weather. 


Sib  and  Tib,  Licke  and  Lull, 

You  all  have  trickes,  too ; 
Little  Tom  Thumb  that  pipes 

Shall  goe  betwixt  you. 
Torn,  tickle  up  thy  pipes 

Till  they  be  weary : 
I  will  laugh,  ho,  ho,  hoh  ! 

And  make  me  merry. 
Make  a  ring  on  this  grasse 

With  your  quicke  measures: 
Tom  shall  play,  I  will  sing 

For  all  your  pleasures. 

The  moone  shines  faire  and  bright, 

And  the  owle  hollows, 
Mortals  now  take  their  rests 

Upon  their  pillows : 
The  bats  abroad  likewise, 

And  the  night  raven, 
Which  doth  use  for  to  call 

Men  to  Deaths  haven. 
Now  the  mice  peepe  abroad, 

And  the  cats  take  them, 
Now  doe  young  wenches  sleepe, 

Till  their  dreames  wake  them. 
Make  a  ring  on  the  grasse 

With  your  quicke  measures: 
Tom  shall  play,  I  will  sing 

For  all  your  pleasures. 

Thus  danced  they  a  good  space :  at  last  they  left  and 
sat  downe  upon  the  grasse;  and  to  requite  Robin 
Good-fellowes  kindnesse,  they  promised  to  tell  to  him 
all  the  exploits  that  they  were  accustomed  to  doe : 
Robin  thanked  them  and  listned  to  them,  and  one 
begun  to  tell  his  trickes  in  this  manner. 



AFTER  that  wee  have  danced  in  this  manner  as  you 
have  beheld,  I,  that  am  called  Pinch,  do  goe  about  from 
house  to  house:  sometimes  I  find  the  dores  of  the 
house  open ;  that  negligent  servant  that  left  them  so,  I 
doe  so  nip  him  or  her,  that  with  my  pinches  their 
bodyes  are  as  many  colors  as  a  mackrels  backe.  Then 
take  I  them,  and  lay  I  them  in  the  doore,  naked  or 
unnaked  I  care  not  whether  :  there  they  lye,  many 
times  till  broad  day,  ere  they  waken  ;  and  many  times, 
against  their  wills,  they  shew  some  parts  about  them, 
that  they  would  not  have  openly  seene. 

Sometimes  I  find  a  slut  sleeping  in  the  chimney 
corner,  when  she  should  be  washing  of  her  dishes,  or 
doing  something  else  which  she  hath  left  undone :  her 
I  pinch  about  the  armes,  for  not  laying  her  armes  to 
her  labor.  Some  I  find  in  their  bed  snorting  and  sleep- 
ing, and  their  houses  lying  as  cleane  as  a  nasty  doggs 
kennell;  in  one  corner  bones,  in  another  eg-shells, 
behind  the  doore  a  heap  of  dust,  the  dishes  under  feet, 
and  the  cat  in  the  cubbord :  all  these  sluttish  trickes  I 
doe  reward  with  blue  legges,  and  blue  armes.  I  find 
some  slovens  too,  as  well  as  sluts :  they  pay  for  their 
beastlinesse  too,  as  well  as  the  women -kind;  for  if  they 
uncase  a  sloven  and  not  unty  their  points,  I  so  pay 
their  armes  that  they  cannot  sometimes  untye  them,  if 
they  would.  Those  that  leave  foule  shooes,  or  goe  into 
their  beds  with  their  stockings  on,  I  use  them  as  I  did 


the  former,  and  never  leave  them  till  they  have  left 
their  beastlinesse. 

But  to  the  good  I  doe  no  harme, 

But  cover  them,  and  keepe  them  warme : 

Sluts  and  slovens  I  doe  pinch, 

And  make  them  in  their  beds  to  winch. 

This  is  my  practice,  and  my  trade ; 

Many  have  I  cleanely  made. 


ABOUT  mid-night  do  I  walke,  and  for  the  trickes  I  play 
they  call  me  Pach.  When  I  find  a  slut  asleepe,  I 
snmch  her  face  if  it  be  cleane ;  but  if  it  be  durty,  I 
wash  it  in  the  next  pisse-pot  that  I  can  finde:  the  balls 
I  use  to  wash  such  sluts  withal  is  a  sows  pan-cake,  or 
a  pilgrimes  salve.  Those  that  I  find  with  their  heads 
nitty  and  scabby,  for  want  of  combing,  I  am  their 
barbers,  and  cut  their  hayre  as  close  as  an  apes  tayle  ; 
or  else  clap  so  much  pitch  on  it,  that  they  must  cut  it 
off  themselves  to  their  great  shame.  Slovens  also  that 
neglect  their  masters  businesse,  they  doe  not  escape. 
Some  I  find  that  spoyle  their  masters  horses  for  want 
of  currying:  those  I  doe  daube  with  grease  and  soote, 
that  they  are  faine  to  curry  themselves  ere  they  can 
get  cleane.  Others  that  for  laysinesse  will  give  the  poore 
beasts  no  meate,  I  oftentimes  so  punish  them  with  blowes, 
that  they  cannot  feed  themselves  they  are  so  sore. 


Thus  many  trickes  I,  Pach,  can  doe, 
But  to  the  good  I  ne'ere  was  foe : 
The  bad  I  hate  and  will  doe  ever, 
Till  they  from  ill  themselves  doe  sever. 
To  helpe  the  good  lie  run  and  goe, 
The  bad  no  good  from  me  shall  know. 


WHEN  mortals  keep  their  beds  I  walke  abroad,  and 
for  my  prankes  am  called  by  the  name  of  Gull.  I  with 
a  fayned  voyce  doe  often  deceive  many  men,  to  their 
great  amazement.  Many  times  I  get  on  men  and 
women,  and  so  lye  on  their  stomackes,  that  I  cause 
their  great  paine,  for  which  they  call  me  by  the  name 
of  Hagge,  or  Night-mare.  Tis  I  that  doe  steale  children, 
and  in  the  place  of  them  leave  changelings.  Sometime 
I  also  steale  milke  and  creame,  and  then  with  my 
brothers  Patch,  Pinch,  and  Grim,  and  sisters  Sib,  Tib, 
Licke,  and  Lull,  I  feast  with  my  stolne  goods:  our 
little  piper  hath  his  share  in  all  our  spoyles,  but  hee 
nor  our  women  fayries  doe  ever  put  themselves  in 
danger  to  doe  any  great  exploit. 

What  Gull  can  doe,  I  have  you  showne ; 

I  am  inferior  unto  none. 

Command  me,  Eobin,  thoti  shalt  know, 

That  I  for  thee  will  ride  or  goe : 

I  can  doe  greater  things  than  these 

Upon  the  land,  and  on  the  seas. 



I  WALKE  with  the  owle,  and  make  many  to  cry  as  loud 
as  she  doth  hollow.  Sometimes  I  doe  affright  many 
simple  people,  for  which  some  have  termed  me  the 
Blacke  Dog  of  New -gate.  At  the  meetings  of  young 
men  and  maydes  I  many  times  am,  and  when  they  are 
in  the  midst  of  all  their  good  cheare,  I  come  in,  in 
some  feareful  shape,  and  affright  them,  and  then  carry 
away  their  good  cheare,  and  eate  it  with  my  fellow 
fayries.  Tis  I  that  do,  like  a  skritch-owle,  cry  at  sicke 
mens  windowes,  which  makes  the  hearers  so  fearefull, 
that  they  say,  that  the  sicke  person  cannot  live.  Many 
other  wayes  have  I  to  fright  the  simple,  but  the  un- 
derstanding man  I  cannot  moove  to  feare,  because  he 
knowes  I  have  no  power  to  do  hurt. 

My  nightly  businesse  I  have  told, 
To  play  these  trickes  I  use  of  old: 
When  candles  burne  both  blue  and  dim, 
Old  folkes  will  say,  Here's  fairy  Grim. 
More  trickes  then  these  I  use  to  doe : 
Hereat  cry'd  Robin,  Ho,  ho,  hoh ! 


To  walke  nightly,  as  do  the  men  fayries,  we  use  not ; 
but  now  and  then  we  goe  together,  and  at  good  hus- 
wives fires  we  warme  and  dresse  our  fayry  children. 


If  wee  find  cleane  water  and  cleane  towels,  wee  leave 
them  money,  either  in  their  basons  or  in  their  shooes ; 
but  if  wee  find  no  cleane  water  in  their  houses,  we 
wash  our  children  in  their  pottage,  milke,  or  beere,  or 
what-ere  we  finde  :  for  the  sluts  that  leave  not  such 
things  fitting,  wee  wash  their  faces  and  hands  with  a 
gilded  childs  clout,  or  els  carry  them  to  some  river, 
and  ducke  them  over  head  and  eares.  We  often  use  to 
dwell  in  some  great  hill,  and  from  thence  we  doe  lend 
money  to  any  poore  man,  or  woman  that  hath  need ; 
but  if  they  bring  it  not  againe  at  the  day  appointed, 
we  doe  not  only  punish  them  with  pinching,  but  also 
in  their  goods,  so  that  they  never  thrive  till  they  have 
payd  us. 

Tib  and  I  the  chiefest  are, 
And  for  all  things  doe  take  care. 
Licke  is  cooke  and  dresseth  meate, 
And  fetcheth  all  things  that  we  eat : 
Lull  is  nurse  and  tends  the  cradle, 
And  the  babes  doth  dresse  and  swadle. 
This  little  fellow,  cald  Tom  Thumb, 
That  is  no  bigger  then  a  plumb, 
He  is  the  porter  to  our  gate, 
For  he  doth  let  all  in  thereat, 
And  makes  us  merry  with  his  play, 
And  merrily  we  spend  the  day. 

Shee  having  spoken,  Tom  Thumb  stood  up  on  tip-toe 
and  shewed  himselfe,  saying, 

My  actions  all  in  volumes  two  are  wrote, 
The  least  of  which  will  never  be  forgot. 


He  had  no  sooner  ended  his  two  lines,  but  a  sliep- 
heard  (that  was  watching  in  the  field  all  night)  blew 
up  a  bag-pipe:  this  so  frighted  Tom,  that  he  could  not 
tell  what  to  doe  for  the  present  time.  The  fayries 
seeing  Tom  Thumbe  in  such  a  feare,  punisht  the  shep- 
heard  with  his  pipes  losse,  so  that  the  shepherds  pipe 
presently  brake  in  his  hand,  to  his  great  amazement. 
Hereat  did  Eobin  Good-fellow  laugh,  ho,  ho,  hoh ! 
Morning  beeing  come,  they  all  hasted  to  Fayry  Land, 
where  I  thinke  they  yet  remaine. 

My  hostesse  asked  me  how  I  liked  this  tale  ?    I  said, 

it  was  long  enough,  and  good  enough  to  passe  time 

that  might  be  worser  spent.  I,  seeing  her  dry,  called  for 

two  pots :  she  emptied  one  of  them  at  a  draught,  and 

never  breathed  for  the  matter:  I  emptied  the 

other  at  leasure ;  and  being  late  I  went 

to  bed,  and  did  dreame  of  this 

which  I  had  heard. 



Collier,  J.P. 
Robin  Goodfellow.